Monday, November 28, 2011

Vanilla Extract, Part 2

Hey, remember those two mason jars full of vodka and vanilla I put aside months ago?  No?  Well, feel free to read the first part of this post from back in August.   Technically the vanilla was ready last week, but I needed to choose a worthy test of vanilla extract before I could write about it.  In the end, I chose Vanilla Pudding for its simple flavor and uncomplicated recipe to make the comparison.  

First of all, let's talk about the look and smell of the vanillas.  Store bought is the familiar dark dark brown, with the scent of rubbing alcohol.  Homemade looks like murky water, and smells like, you guessed it, vodka.
When I was looking into making vanilla back in August, I read so many reviews of various recipes that complained that their vanilla smelled like vodka, not vanilla.  I don't think they every stuck their nose in a bottle of vanilla.  It smells terrible!  Oh- the comparison vanilla is Food Lion brand.  One thing that the Food Lion vanilla has that mine does not on the ingredient list is corn syrup.  I don't really know why that would be there, and I'm equally baffled at the "Pure Vanilla Extract" label when clearly it is not.

Anyway, onto the pudding.  I tasted them over and over again, and I really couldn’t tell the difference, but I thought it might just be my pregnant taste buds.  The store bought vanilla made a pudding that was very slightly darker and thicker.  I asked my husband to help me out, and he thought the pudding with store bought vanilla was very slightly more “vanilla-y”, but when I said that maybe my vanilla needed a few more beans, he said that was unnecessary.  
Side by side comparison

So, I think I’ll say the verdict is Try It.  I still may add a bean or two to each jar to strengthen it a bit before Christmas.  Once we’re close to gift giving time, I’ll strain it though cheesecloth, and pour it into some small bottles or jars to give out to my loved ones.  Anyone else have some vanilla going that they’ve tested?     


  1. Well, I suspected your taste buds were pregnant (ha!) but I hadn't heard an "official" announcement, so congratulations on your successful vanilla extract making and your successful human incubating!